xi's moments
Home | Technology

Pico seeks to popularize VR with new headset launch

By MA SI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-09-29 09:09

Consumers check out Pico products at a flagship store in Beijing. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Chinese virtual reality (VR) headset maker Pico, owned by tech company ByteDance, is stepping up efforts to popularize VR and build a thriving content ecosystem amid intensified competition.

Pico unveiled its latest VR headset on Tuesday in its first major launch event after ByteDance acquired the company a year ago.

Priced from 2,499 yuan ($345.4), the Pico 4 series, its latest generation of all-in-one VR devices, is expected to compete with US company Meta's Oculus Quest 2 VR headset in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and other overseas markets.

Zhou Hongwei, president of Pico, said: "Today, we officially hit the road to popularize VR in China through Pico 4, and we will bring a new product experience and content ecology to more users. Perhaps, for many users, Pico 4 will be the first VR device they buy."

According to market research company International Data Corp, VR headset shipments in China reached 558,000 units in the first half of this year and annual shipments are expected to exceed 28 million units in 2025.

The premium Pico 4 Pro features a string of cutting-edge technologies, including three more infrared cameras than the Pico 4 version and it supports eye-movement tracking and facial expressions.

More importantly, Pico is ratcheting up resources to cultivate VR content. It has set up a wealth of VR content, including four scenarios — VR sports and fitness, VR video, VR entertainment and VR creation. Taking sports and fitness as an example, Pico 4 has an application that integrates personal training courses, yoga and other sports.

Pico said it has developed a fitness monitoring algorithm that can help calculate calories burned based on body data and movement trajectories, making VR sports a new lifestyle.

In addition, Pico will launch a VR interactive narrative work named "The Three-Body Problem" next year, which is based on a science fiction novel written by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin.

At the news conference, Pico announced that it would bring its own social platform "Project PICO Worlds" next year. This platform will provide a series of tools for users to customize their digital avatars and worlds.

The move came as digital avatars have become a crucial way for users to enter the metaverse, which promises integration of virtual and real worlds, said Yu Jianing, co-author of the book Metaverse and principal of Huobi University, an educational and research institution focusing on frontier technologies.

As metaverse continues to be a tech buzzword that catches the attention of both established tech companies and startups, interest in VR and augmented reality (AR) has been revived and hit a new high, Yu added.

VR and AR form key components of the metaverse, a trending concept that loosely refers to a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using such technologies as VR headsets and AR glasses.

"The lack of quality content remains a major obstacle to the popularity of VR. Given ByteDance's abundant content resources such as short videos and its willingness to develop self-made content, Pico will have advantages in this respect," said Fu Liang, an independent tech analyst.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349